Endowment campaign raises more than $10 million for local nonprofits

February 28, 2011|By DON AINES |

WASHINGTON COUNTY — After five years, the Waltersdorf-Henson Endowment Challenge Campaign has achieved its goal of raising $5 million through the Community Foundation of Washington County MD Inc. and 15 other local nonprofits. The money raised will be matched by the endowment.

The challenge ended in December with more than $10 million being raised through the campaign and the matching endowment grant. The total raised through the campaign was $10,144,964.84, according to Marsha Jackson, director of marketing and communication for the Community Foundation.

The endowment will provide $500,000 or more each year to the participating organizations, which raised $100,000 to more than $800,000 to fund their programs, Community Foundation Executive Director Brad Sell said.

That money will come from the growth in the endowment, which had a market value of almost $12.6 million at the end of January, according to Jackson.

The goal was to build a permanent endowment from which the nonprofits would receive annual funding without the endowment’s principle being touched, Sell said.

Businessman and philanthropist John Waltersdorf, who died last year, and his late wife, Margaret, donated $2.5 million to fund the Waltersdorf-Henson Challenge. The other $2.5 million came from the foundation of the late aviation businessman Richard A. Henson, who died in 2002.

“With the challenge, we were able to develop an endowment for students from Washington County ... who need tuition assistance to attend Saint James,” said Father D. Stuart Dunnan, headmaster of the Episcopalian school near Hagerstown. The money was raised by going primarily to the families of students and alumni within Washington County, he said.

The school raised and exceeded the $800,000 it needed to get the matching funds from the Waltersdorf-Henson Endowment, Dunnan said. The school raised $880,000 and has another $70,000 in pledges outstanding, according to Director of Development and Alumni Relations Mary Wood.

With its endowment for county students approaching $2 million, Dunnan said it could generate about $100,000 a year in tuition assistance. Enrollment in the school this year is 205 students in grades eight to 12, he said.

The United Way of Washington County partners with 26 nonprofit organizations in the county, but provides funding to almost 50 programs provided through those groups, Executive Director Leah Gayman said. United Way raised $100,000 in the challenge, she said.

“United Way’s goal has always been to be smart with our money and investments ... to build our foundation or foundations so we can put more money out in the community,” Gayman said.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra raised $137,929 over the five-year campaign, money that will be used for artistic programming, including bringing new guest artists to perform with the orchestra and for music education initiatives for 25,000 children in classrooms and other venues, MSO Director of Development Vicki L. Willman said.

Those contributions came from 104 households and one corporation, and ranged from $100 to $10,000, she said.


Like other organizations, the MSO had to submit an application to participate in the endowment challenge detailing what programs endowment funding would be used to support, Willman said.

Other participating nonprofit organizations are Antietam Healthcare Foundation, Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage, Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown YMCA, Hood College, The Magnolia Foundation for the Benefit of the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, Mercersburg Academy, REACH Inc., Rotary Club of Hagerstown Sunrise Foundation Inc., St. Maria Goretti High School, Star Community Inc. and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

Gayman said she knew Waltersdorf before his death and said the community needs to work hard to find benefactors like him and Henson.

“He was one-of-a-kind ... The nonprofit community is blessed to have known him,” Gayman said.

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